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Twisted Sister - 1982 Under The Blade

ARTIST: Twisted Sister
ALBUM: Under The Blade
LABEL: Secret
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1999, Spitfire, 5024-2 * 2011, Armoury, ARMCD532 (bonus dvd)


LINEUP: Dee Snider - vocals * Eddie Ojeda - guitars * Jay Jay French - guitars * Mark Mendoza - bass * A.J Pero - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 What You Don't Know * 02 Bad Boys Of Rock And Roll * 03 Run For Your Life * 04 Sin After Sin * 05 Shoot Em Down * 06 Destroyer * 07 Under The Blade * 08 Tear It Loose * 09 I'll Never Grow Up, Now! * 10 Day Of The Rocker


It was a hard road that led to Twisted Sister's debut. Formed in the early to mid seventies the band gigged for years on the New York club circuit, becoming firm crowd favourites. A record deal proved elusive and the boys had to be content with an underground legend tag. Several singles were released independently and found massive interest in the U.K where the band turned their attention. Finally in 1982 TS were signed by the small Secret label who soon went bust. They drew attention through their riotous stage show which involved make up and various theatrics. The debut was produced by UFO's Pete Way who had co-formed Fastway by this point. 'Under The Blade' is an angry debut, punishing heavy metal on the level with Manowar's debut that same year. Anyone who thought the make up was girlish might want to check the boys out on the back cover decked out in street denim. Very intimidating!

The Songs
Twisted Sister had spent so many years touring they had perfected their stage repertoire for recording purposes. Like many bands the debut was their heaviest album, the music becoming watered down on following records. The style ranges from all out metal, 'What You Don't Know', 'Under The Blade' and 'Tear It Loose' to the more hard rock themed 'Shoot 'Em Down (with AC/DC riffing) and slower anthems like 'Day Of The Rocker'. Starting out with 'Run For Your Life' it's similar to early Judas Priest, 'Rocka Rolla' era, before gaining momentum and speed. 'Sin After Sin' has nothing to do with Priest, but is certainly in the same vein musically as them during the period. 'I'll Never Grow Up Now' and 'Bad Boys (Of Rock 'n' Roll)' are lighter in tone, almost happy rebellious anthems - harmless. They sound most at home on the savage title cut and the warp speed 'Tear It Loose', which admittedly make Iron Maiden circa 82 look tame. The riffs and overall attitude suggested a bright future. The line 'shoot them down with a fucking gun' would cause Dee Snider all kinds of trouble with the PMRC in 1985.

In Summary
Despite the rabid reaction of the British public, Secret went belly up, leaving the band in the cold again. After a performance on the TV show 'The Tube' in 1983, where the band removed the make up so the fans might take them seriously, they signed to Atlantic in Europe. The US was slow to catch on and 83's 'You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll' enjoyed more success in the U.K. Of course 84's 'Stay Hungry' went platinum courtesy 'We're Not Gonna Take It', but it all went downhill and the band split in 1987 after the almost AOR 'Love Is For Suckers'. A great band in their day, Twisted Sister never quite approached the mayhem suggested on 'Under The Blade' for future albums. A definitive metal classic.

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#1 | Eric on May 17 2007 22:10:17
My High School Student council tried to get these guys to play a gig in our student commons back in 1978, but it was denied by the School board. Instead we got The Good Rats who played a good gig, but... It was a big surprise to watch them become the stars they were back then, but to me they will always just be a New York bar band that borrowed heavily from the New York Dolls early on and became a wierdo pop metal band jumping on the 80's bandwagon with sub-par material. thumbs down
#2 | Eric on May 17 2007 22:36:34
By the way- my 'Media-Television' class taped the Good Rats gig from start to finish and my friends (who sat behind the cameras) and I watched it on a early VCR as big as a Kitchen table (!) at least twice. Notable that Joe Franco played drums that night on the groups 'Birth Comes To Us All' tour. Wish I had that tape...! Who knew???
#3 | reyno-roxx on June 26 2008 09:56:24
Twisted Sister were excellent before they got signed to Atlantic. They quickly became a parody of themselves after that.
I remember that during the recording of this album the band very graciously invited Steve Hammonds and myself into the Maison Rouge studios in Fulham where they were finishing up the record with Pete Way. Steve and I were mere fanzine writers back then, but Dee and co were great hosts and even allowed us to listen to a couple of the finished tracks. The two Marquee shows they played soon after were fantastic events, worth attending as much for Snider's stage raps as the music.
#4 | englandashes on February 25 2017 23:41:50
The Tube appearance was one of my defining moments for me on terms of rock. I was totally hooked on Twisted Xxxxxxx Sister, in fact their version of It's Only Rock n Roll is my favourite cover version, it totally makes the original sound so wimpy. Last night on BBC repeated 1984 Top of the pops with I Am I'm Me, with Mark Mendoza smashing his bass on the mic stand, great times.

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